British F3 round 8 – Brands Hatch
8 May 1983.
Qualifying: 43.35 (1); 43.14 (1).
Grid: Pole position
Senna was sensational, as it seems, through Paddock Hill Bend in qualifying. “It’s right on the limit and I can tell you that it feels quite dangerous”. Jeremy Shaw wrote in Autosport: “Once, during the second session, he missed his down-change, turning the corner without any positive drive, but even that presented only a minor problem, the Brazilian sliding wide on to the ‘old’ circuit [a strip of track running along side] and quickly bringing the car back under his total control.
“In both sessions he went to the qualifying record, held by Mansilla at 43.64. Mind you, so did Brundle and Jones and Fish. The pace of progress, no doubt. A deluge delayed the race. Ambrose and Patey watched the grid where Senna sat in the Ralt surrounded by Brazilian media and an enormous circle of friends. Ambrose recalls: “The pressure is building and so is the awareness that we will soon lose him to celebrity. We sheltered in the grandstand. Umbrellas blossom above each car. The rain is solid. A minor river is squeegeed off the track in the dip before Druids.” Senna emerged from Paddock ahead, Brundle reasoning it would be “silly” to try anything there. Senna wasn’t to be caught and insisted the win was his best of the season so far: clean, accomplished, assured.
Ambrose and Patey (both Ralt Team) remember that. “The lights changed and the white car carrying the yellow helmet was gone. Sure-footed, supremely confident, the gap opens as if there were no rain as if the water parts for him, closing behind the Ralt. Everyone else looked in slow
• Podium: Senna 17m 21,6s, Brundle at 2.4.Jones at 9.5.
• Fastest lap: Senna
• Championship: Senna 78, Brundle 48, Jones 26